Coast Guard boat crews throughout the Great Lakes region saw thousands of vessels on the water during the Independence Day weekend and responded to several hundred distress calls.
The large number of Coast Guard responses, at least 227 from Friday morning to approximately 12 a.m. Tuesday, is significantly higher than the same time frames during the previous four years, but may be because Independence Day fell on a Monday this year and weather was favorable for boaters throughout the Great Lakes the majority of the long weekend.
Coast Guardsmen in small boats, cutters and aircraft, as well as members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, saved 16 lives, assisted 379 people, saved or assisted $2.3 million worth of property, and conducted 591 recreational vessel safety boardings. Of those 591 boardings, nine vessel operators were cited for boating under the influence, and the voyages of 22 recreational vessels were terminated due to various safety violations.
The most common safety violation was vessels under way without enough life jackets for everyone aboard or lacking a required throwable floatation device.